I have to apologize for the span of time between posts. I had a virus in my computer! Aaarrgghh!
This post is about loss. This post is about debilitating grief. This post is about losing the center of my being; my husband whom I had spent a magical 50 years with losing his battle to Cancer.
Over the next week and a half I watched my beloved leave me a little bit every day. Richard was declining fast. He lost a tremendous amount of weight; he was unsteady on his feet (he fell twice); his appetite became nonexistent; he became confused about what was reality and what was a dream. He felt like he had one foot in each of two Worlds. He was gaunt.
We brought in a hospital bed after his second fall. They inserted a catheter. I moved Richard’s recliner next to the hospital bed and that is where I slept for his last four days. I did not shower. I did not change my clothes. I barely ate.
Based on what Rich’s Hospice Nurse Kari said on Friday about telling our son to come ‘sooner than later’ and the fact that the weekend ‘on-call’ nurse called to reassure me they were there to help, I called our son and told him he needed to come back.
He arrived Saturday evening. Richard was gone Sunday evening. Our children and I surrounded him as he left. Before he left he told us he loved us all; he kissed the back of my hand as I sobbed inconsolably. Within an hour his lungs filled and with my hand on his chest his heart stopped beating.
So did mine.
There is no way to describe how losing your soul mate, your partner of fifty years, the center of your World, feels. The pain is excruciating. And it does not give you any respite when you sleep; if you sleep. Over the next few days I told several people that I was blessed that my Father abandoned me as a child. Strange statement. What it taught me, as a young adult trying to reconcile that fact, was that if you allow yourself to feel the pain (and it seems unbearable), even lose yourself in it, you can start to heal.
I am also of the belief that we all need to cry every day and we need to laugh every day. It releases you. I cried and laughed every day of our three-year journey with cancer. I continue that practice although the crying is now deeper and much more painful. But because of my experience with my Father I know I’ll get there. I know the pain will subside and be replaced by joyful memories.
I also know that Richard is waiting for me. We will find each other anew and embark on a brand new adventure.
The Lesson: Allow yourself to feel all the pain. Do not put on a 'strong' face for others. This is about you. I have made my journey. I miss him desperately every moment but by releasing all of that pain I have taught myself how to live without him; how to feel joy again. I can survive with memories of him that make me smile knowing he is watching over me. I pay close attention. I have seen the results of him caring for me; still.